When you practice good stewardship it really can help you get hired.

For the Candidate

If you read Liz Ryan’s articles on LinkedIn, you will find that she has lots of advice on how to ask about a company’s most pressing problem and how you could help them solve it. Her recent article on Forbes’s website also mentions being proactive by showing you understand the job and its description, but then ask the follow-up question, “Am I missing anything about the job?”

Ryan is teaching readers to use stewardship before they even get the job. A good steward knows that you don’t worry only about your job. You worry about taking care of the company, which includes assisting your co-workers. You understand that if the company does not do well, neither do you.

One manager I have interviewed mentioned that if he comes in the store and sees a piece of trash in the parking lot he occasionally leaves it just to see if the job candidate will get it. The one who ignores it may still get the job, but the one who picks it up automatically has an advantage.

Don’t assume that no one is watching you come into or leave the building. Rather, assume you are always being watched. It doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way if you see a paper cup blowing around across the parking lot. But, if you see one in your path as you leave your car, pick it up, deposit it in a trash can, and then wash your hands. If germs bother you too much, you can carry a rubber glove in your purse or pocket.

Take the initiative to straighten the magazines on the table. Speak to the receptionist longer than simply saying, “I have an appointment with Jim Bob.” Show that you care about the company and others, and you will greatly increase your chances of getting hired.

For the Company

When building your company’s culture, start with the idea that you want employees to be good stewards. Don’t just ask them ambiguous questions like, “Are you a team player?” Unless the candidate is both completely honest and anti-social, the answer will usually be a non-committal “yes.”

Instead, have representatives from different, but pertinent, departments in the interview. Answer truthfully when they ask the questions Ryan suggests. Or, create arrange the interview such that you leave room for them to think of questions on their own that will show they understand stewardship.

If you have the different departments in your meeting, the candidate could ask, “I understand we will work together, and I will do my best to learn all the ways my job needs to coordinate with others. Is there anything you would not want me to tell others, things that you want me let the respective departments handle exclusively?”

This shows they understand the need for stewardship. It shows you understand stewardship, too, when you can answer such questions without making it seem like candidates will be so busy with extra duties that their own jobs will suffer.

Stewardship is key to making any company truly successful, and what keeps its employees and customers coming back.